Grand Canyon – Part 3

We are about half way down on the first day, and everything is going to plan.
As long as Lloyd takes it easy, his knees are not too painful.
I, on the other hand, can barely keep still. Its just so exciting and beautiful that I am just jumping out of my skin every visita point I get to.

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Trust me, I might look relaxed, but infact I am pretty excited.

All in all, the first day is pretty much about just going down and down and down.

first day - into the canyon

Switchback central as you work your way down to the river.


You know you are really close when you get to the tunnel that leads to the South Kaibab bridge.
Chewed out of solid rock the trail goes through the short but slightly curved tunnel to the bridge over the Colorado River.



I hang out a few minutes till Lloyd shows up. I want to cross the river with him and I could see that our camp was not very far away, nor was there any more ‘down’, so we could hike the rest of the way together.


Crossing the river for the first time seems like a pretty big deal…. Its just a river right? I think its because we have hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon that makes it somewhat special.
I mean the river is both at the bottom of the Canyon and the reason for the Canyon, so its pretty cool to be crossing this mighty (or once mighty) river.

It’s only about a 6-7 minute walk from the bridge to our first nights camping spot.
First thing we did was set up our beds.

Next, given breakfast was a cup of coffee on the road to the Canyon, is food. We are both pretty hungry.
The main food / energy source is dehydrated meals that Lloyd has had in storage for ..well……never mind, just add boiling water, wait 9 minutes and it tastes great!

So camp is set, we are refueled and even Lloyd is up for a little sunset walk – a lazy 2ish miles along the river.
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While on this walk, I get to take a photo of something a lot of people talk about…. Mule pee…..
The mules are in a chain and there is always a few of them in any given chain. They obviously do the trip a bunch of times and, well, they clearly have their toilet spots marked out.

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It stunk really bad even in the Autumn, so I can only imagine what it must be like in the summer!
And yes, the same thing happens with their number twos!
I guess the upside is that at least all that yuck is not spread out over the whole trail so you only have to put up with it here and there.

Anyway, just as we hoped the sunset walk provided some nice views of the river and Canyon.
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With the 37 pound pack off my back and a bit of food, I was even more energized. It was just so exciting to be out exploring such an amazing place. Every turn revealed a new look or angle of the light on the rock.
Everywhere you looked there were photos just begging to be taking in a different light, on a different way, in a different way.
I really was at sensory overload…. I kept running back and forth between the next turn and Lloyd asking him if he was seeing this or that.

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We headed back to camp at last light and poked around a little.
The camp we were at is called Bright Angel. At the top of the camp is a place called Phantom Ranch.
As well as the rangers station, there are several cabins that can be rented and lastly there is a canteena.
They sell t-shirts, some basic foodstuffs and meals can be ordered for the following day….. and yes, they also sell beer.
Just as we walked in a big cheer was going up for some woman that was turning 40… The noise was way too much for me and I had to turn straight back around and high tail it out of there.
Thankfully Lloyd is a bit (cough-alot-cough) more extrovert than me and hung around long enough to get the two coffees that we headed in for.

It was about 5pm and we were both pretty tired, so yeah, coffee before dinner was in order.
Because I wanted to take some star light photos, not sleep!

Here is a shot just outside my tent door, from in the campground.
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We walked around a bit.
Here is a shot of Lloyd (on the left) sitting on a rock just taking it all in.
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There is just a soft murmur of the River, now and then you hear a brief rumble of a passing plane, but for the most part, it’s just dead quiet. It’s one of the blackest skies I have seen in the States.

I wanted a shot of Colorado River, the Canyon and the stars, this is what I ended up with.
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Not exactly what I had in mind, but hey it works for me.

From there it was back to bed and just watch the stars through the tent fly.
It was such a warm night that I did not put the rain/dew cover on the tent so could look up at the stars every time I woke up.
It was hard to not be just totally blown away by the whole thing.
Just an amazing first day and first time in the Grand Canyon.

Read Part 4 here.

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